Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Solomon Peak aka Fish Eagle Peak 7.7.09

There has been some debate about the true name of this peak. I climbed 7095' and I will leave it at that. My chaotic schedule forced me to miss last week so even though this week a strong case to stay home could have been made, I pressed on. Selfish as it is sometimes I just need to get out. I made good time to the South Scatter Creek trailhead and was happy that the weather was perfect! Cool partly cloudy and breezy. The breeze kept the hordes of mosquitoes thankfully at bay. Lately I have been struggling with my mental state and fitness level but that was not in the cards for the day. I felt great and the legs were in good shape as well. For those of you that have navigational issues this trail is not reccommended. The first creek crossing has a particularly slippery looking rock that is indeed very slippery. In short order I was forced to wade the creek. I wasn't bothered since I am so used to walking in wet boots. I managed the second crossing without getting any wetter. Once in the marshy basin the trail becomes very hard to follow. I merely went the way that felt right and was rewarded each time with worn tread. Once passing a large avalanche debris field I took in the views and intended route.

I think most people press on to Fish Eagle Pass before heading towards the summit. I had read there was some class 3 scrambling on the ridge that I wanted to avoid. I decided the green slopes above me would be an easier time. Once I pushed through the small swath of annoying trees I reached the grassy slopes. In retrospect I would have been much better to continue a bit further before leaving the trail. I used this for the descent and was less annoying. The footing was good and I was able to rip unimpeded chunks of elevation. I was running short on time but with the rate I was going I felt like I could make up some time. I angled more towards the SE ridge and was able to find a nice gully going my way. There is much loose unstable rock in the gully so be forewarned about those of you with partners. I was able catch a nice rock in the shin and managed to mainline the beagle with a smaller rock. I popped out on the ridge a mere few feet from the summit. I eagerly signed the register seeing alot of familiar names. The views were nice for most of the local peaks and somewhat obscured for peaks further out.

I didn't have much time to linger so I just freewheeled the descent. I tended more more easterly and found it easier than my ascent line. I was able to find the trail with no issues and did fine trying to follow it back to the creek crossing. The last time I had used this trail by the time I had made my way down it was dark and I had descended too far forcing me to cross the creek lower and have to climb to regain the trail. Today was much the same only I didnt't climb high enough to rejoin the trail. I decided to just wing the descent and just keep traversing until I surely would cross the trail. The terrain is benign but is filled, at least for me, lots of hazards. I drove the area just above my right knee into a sharp protruding branch deep enough to cause myself considerable concern. Thankfully it wasn't a bleeder. Not more than 5 minutes later I shredded my right shin which I aggravated a few moments later leaving a substantial gash with a fun flap of skin just hanging there waiting to catch itself on the next branch. Growing weary of traversing I decided to start my descent. This is not recommended. I was forced down a nice toe betweent the two branches of Scatter Creek. Just when I thought I was going to have to climb back up to find a better situation I found some good tread. On my descent I had seen some flagging that was obvioulsy not the maintained trail I was happy to see it morph into some obvious tread. I followed this new trail and crossed Scatter Creek on the NORTH side and had to do an upleasant traverse to reach the North Scatter Creek Trail above me. I thankfully joined the trail and was just a mere 500' above the trailhead. The rest went without incident and I just waded the road crossing of Scatter Creek which is still high enough to give some cars some issue. I was very pleased to have a much better day but paired with the two worst injuries I have received climbing made it for a bittersweet day.

Approx 10 miles 3900' of climb 6 hours car to car

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